Thursday, October 15, 2015
Determining Cultural Continuity since Vedic and Epic Eras 23-24 Feb 2014
Amazing facts about ancient India
“Determining Cultural Continuity since Vedic and Epic Eras:
through Sequential Dating of Astronomical References and
other Corroborating Scientific Evidences”-
(23-24 February 2014)
Inaugural Address by
Determining Cultural Continuity since Vedic and Epic Eras
Through Sequential Dating of Astronomical References and other Corroborating
[International Seminar to be held on 23rd - 24th February, 2014 in Delhi organized by the Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas (I-SERVE Delhi Chapter)]
Topics proposed to be covered during the Seminar with names of Speakers:
Venue: Civil Services Officers' Institute (CSOI) Auditorium, Vinay Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi
Addresses for contact:
Addresses for contact:
1. Shri Khushi Ram, Administrative Officer,
I-SERVE Delhi Chapter
Mob: 9811343548 / firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Shri K V R S Murthy, Hon. Director,
I-SERVE Headquarters, Hyderabad
Mob: 08897457534 / Email: email@example.com
Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas,
C-6/ 302, Clarion the Legend, Sector 57, Gurgaon - 122011
Determining Cultural Continuity since Vedic and Epic Eras, New Delhi
(23-24 February, 2014)
Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas (I-SERVE, Delhi Chapter) organized an International Seminar on ‘Determining Cultural Continuity since Vedic and Epic Eras’ on 23rd-24th February, 2014 in the Civil Services’ Officers Institute auditorium, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. The main objective of the seminar was to showcase the recent researches on dating of astronomical references from Rigveda to Mahabharata and determining cultural continuity since those times along with corroborating evidences from other scientific disciplines.
The seminar was inaugurated by Hon’ble Dr Karan Singh, Member of Rajya Sabha and Chairman of ICCR. Dr. Kapil Kapoor, an eminent author, scholar and linguist was the Guest of Honour. Smt. Saroj Bala, Director, I-SERVE Delhi Chapter and Chief Research Coordinator, delivered the welcome address, introduced the speakers and explained the theme of the seminar. She informed that after very encouraging response to its first publication, 'Historicity of Vedic and Ramayana Eras……..', I-SERVE continued with multi-disciplinary scientific research, outcomes of which have revealed that indigenous civilization has been developing in India for last more than 9000 years. Referring to the papers/abstracts received from subject experts, she explained that calenderic references in Rigveda pertain to 9000 BP onwards whereas astronomical references in Ramayana match sequentially from 7100 BP onwards and that Mahabharata era is much later, but is in any case prior to 3500 BP. This date sequence gets corroborated through archaeological, geological, anthropological, oceanographic, ecological and remote sensing evidences in an amazing manner.
While delivering the inaugural address, Chief Guest of the seminar, Dr. Karan Singh said that Vedic civilization was probably the oldest civilization of the world and that Vedas were not only superb poetic compositions but also contained the divine truth perceived through the elevated consciousness of great seers. He further said that people tend to take the achievement of the past to the extreme either dismissing the achievements completely or going hyperbolic. Neither is correct. He lauded the efforts of I-SERVE and added that the critical approach will help in enhancing our knowledge for looking at things objectively.
There were two presentations on astronomical determinations. Shri Ashok Bhatnagar, Technical Director, I-SERVE (former Director, Positional Astronomy Centre and Additional DG, India Meteorological Department) made a presentation on ‘Astronomical dating from Rigveda to Mahabharata’. Shri Bhatnagar narrowed down the search to the period 2150 BCE to 1280 BCE by tying up Kartik month to autumn season as described in detail in the epic. Next, a search was made for the eclipses as described in Mahabharata around this period using the latest Canons of eclipses published by NASA; and 75 pairs of eclipses of Sun and Moon were shortlisted. Finally, the details of Winter Solstice day as given in the text were used to determine the precession in longitude of Magha (α Leonis). The sky simulation with these details provided the unique date for the Winter Solstice in the year -1792 (1793 BCE), from where the rest of the sequence of events in Mahabharata fell in place. Accordingly, Shri Bhatnagar determined 14 October, -1792 (1793 BCE, Gregorian) as the date of beginning of Mahabharata war and concluded that the sky simulations of astronomical and seasonal events show that these must have been actually observed sequentially and recorded in Mahabharata. Shri Bhatnagar also explained that the astronomical and calendric framework that evolved from the Vedic times through Mahabharata has survived until the present and forms the backbone of Indian cultural life to this day.
Prof. B.N. Narahari Achar of University of Memphis, USA made the next presentation on ‘Astronomical Dating of Mahabharata Era- making use of the Planetarium software’. He made a thorough review of the dates determined in the past by various scholars and supported the date of 3067 BCE determined earlier by K.S. Raghavan (1969) on the basis of analysis of fewer astronomical events (planets and eclipses) from two Parvas. Prof. Achar has tested Raghavan’s date (3067 BCE) based on 4 events data from one Parva. The dates of various events in the epic determined by Raghavan for 3067 BCE seem to differ by 3 to 12 days from the ones actually indicated in the epic, e.g., Winter Solstice is shown to occur on Magha Sukla 5 instead of Magha Sukla 8 at the time of Bhishma’s demise. The time elapsed from the beginning of war upto the time of Bhishma’s demise, from Raghavan’s dates, comes out as 56 days instead of 68 days quoted in many verses. Prof. Achar found that some planetary references in the two Parvas of the epic do not match each other and has assumed some of them to be comets.
The scientists and scholars were not fully convinced with any of the two presentations. They wanted the Institute worked out by Shri Bhatnagar was corroborated by many other scientific studies too, presented at the seminar.
There was a presentation on ‘Vedic Saraswati river Network in the late Quaternary Period from Mansarovar to Dwarka: Perceived through Satellite Remote Sensing’, by Dr. J.R. Sharma, Chief General Manager, RCs/NRSC, ISRO, Dept. of Space, New Delhi and Dr. B. K. Bhadra, Sr. Scientist, RRSC-W, NRSC/ISRO, CAZRI Campus, Jodhpur. Dr. Bhadra discussed the river linkage from its source to destination based on historical, geo-tectonic, hydrological and archaeological evidences coupled with remote sensing data. He showed that a linkage of the entire drainage network has been established from Mansarovar (Tibetan Himalaya) to Dwarka (Arabian Sea coast) during late Quaternary period. He explained that Vedic Saraswati was in existence from 28000 BP to 3792 BC and was flowing with full majesty around 8000 BP but got reduced to non perennial seasonal trickles around 5000 BP due to climatic and tectonic changes in the Himalayan region.
The next presentation by Dr. Gyaneshwar Chaubey, Estonian Biocentre, University of Tartu on ‘Concordance of Vedic and Epic knowledge with modern peopling of South Asia’ informed about several tribal groups mentioned in Ramayana and Mahabharata, e.g. Bhil, Gond and Kol etc., who have existed and developed in India for last more than ten thousand years. On the basis of research analysis, he elucidated that the ancient gene pool of these tribes matches the gene pool of modern populations of India and that there was no noticeable gene inflow from outside the Indian subcontinent. He also confirmed that signature of internal migration of population from western India towards east can be found around 18th century BCE in the data, suggesting sudden natural calamity leading to drying up of some rivers near their settlements.
Shri Kulbhushan Mishra, Research Associate, Indian Archaeological Society and Dr. Vimal Tiwari, Assistant Archaeologist, ASI, spoke on ‘Signatures of Human Settlements before 1500 BC in the Indian Subcontinent: Inputs from Archaeology’, discussing in detail the archaeological investigations carried out during last 40-50 years in the Indian subcontinent. In their presentations they said that remains of cities, houses, plants, metallurgy, pottery etc. excavated from several sites such as Mehrgarh, Kot Diji and Nausharo in Indus valley in the north-west; Bhirana, Banawali and Kalibangan in the Saraswati valley; Lothal and Dholavira, Padri, Prabhas, Dwarka and Bet Dwarka in the west; Lahuradeva, Jhusi, Tokwa and Hetapatti in Ganga Valley in the east are dated more than 5000 years old and these push back the antiquity of settled village life to 9th millennium BP. They elucidated in detail the material testimonies found at these sites throwing sufficient light on various aspects of continuity of Indian culture for thousands of years such as a female figurine of terracotta having vermilion on her medial portion of hair; an ivory comb from Mohenjo-daro; agricultural field of Kalibangan; terracotta model of a plough from Banawali; gamesmen from Lothal and Dholavira; terracotta cubical dice from Mohenjo-daro; painted jars having depictions of the story of ‘The Thirsty Crow’ and dentistry with drilling and filling of teeth from Mehrgarh etc.
On the second day, 24th February, an interesting presentation on ‘Effective Endeavours for Unification of India since Vedic Times’ was made by K.S. Valdiya, Geodynamics Unit, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, in which the Puranic description of Asian landmass, particularly of Bharatvarsha, was identified with descriptions of its major geological features. He also talked about the close connections amongst the people inhabiting different parts and the underlying efforts made by them since the ancient times to unify the diverse populations residing in different parts of Indian subcontinent e.g. Saptasindhav, Prabhaskshetra, Ilavritvarsha, Tibet, Uttrakhand etc. The pilgrimages, particularly to the places forming natural symbols of Lord Shiva, including Mt. kailash in north, Rameshwaram in South, Somnath in West and Shreeshailam in East of Indian subcontinent, were a major unifying factor.
Prof. Vasant Shinde, V.C. of Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute, Pune made a very comprehensive presentation on ‘Art and Craft since Vedic times and continuity through the ages’ in which he elucidated the cultural developments and the advancement of civilization by showing evidences of artefacts found from large number of sites located at different places. The large variety of pictures of excavated artefacts shown by him made it abundantly obvious that there has been cultural continuity from Vedic times to the present through the Harappan period.
Dr. C.M. Nautiyal (Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow), while speaking on the ‘Plants mentioned in Vedas, Epics and Puranas: Scientific and Radiometric Data’, showed the sites in the Ganga plain where early farming tradition continued from 7000 BCE to 2000 BCE followed by advanced farming phase.
Dr. N.S. Rajaram, an eminent author, mathematician and linguist, Boston, USA made a presentation on ‘Mahabharata knows Harappans as Vedic: Inference from the Indus Seas’, and explained that archaeology and literature had been kept separated through an imagination known as the Aryan invasion theory, of which there is no scientific basis. He showed that there was no discontinuity and Harappan and Vedic civilizations were part of the same continuous development. He further explained that there were references to three famous Harappan seals (namely Unicorn, Humped Bull and Three Animal Headed Mudra) in Mahabharata.
Prof. Krishna Bihari Pandey, former Vice-Chancellor of C.S.J.M. University, Kanpur and former Chairman of U.P. Public Service Commission, made a very interesting presentation on ‘Science and Technology since Vedic times’ and elucidated the achievements in the field of science and technology in ancient India. He also reminded the participants about the inventions of Sushrut, Charak, Aryabhatta and Bhaskaracharya etc. and emphasized the need for disseminating the scientific knowledge contained in ancient Sanskrit books. Prof. Pandey also explained in detail the scientific inventions of Vedic period in the fields of Astronomy, Mathematics, Ayurveda, Chemistry, Technology, Aeronautics, Physics etc. reproducing the relevant slokas. Hundreds of discoveries which are attributed to the modern scientists of Europe were actually documented thousands of years back by the scientists / rishis of ancient India.
Dr. Kapil Kapoor, former Pro- Vice-Chancellor of JNU, New Delhi, in a special address showed the evolutionary way of thought process with the development of language, pointed to the continuity of knowledge in India for thousands of years and related it to the great wisdom found in the most common Indians.
In the Valedictory Function on 24th February, 2014, Smt. Saroj Bala who is the moving force behind this seminar, delivered the welcome address and also presented the summation of the proceedings. During Valedictory Function, Shri Manbir Singh, Member of UPSC, opined that while religion may be a matter of faith, researching into the true heritage is of utmost importance. Justice Som Nath Aggarwal, who was the Chief Guest, delivered the valedictory address, talked about the antiquity of India's rich cultural heritage and threw light on our legal inheritance, particularly in family laws and principles of governance under Ram Rajya. He further added that cultural heritage of India is much older than what is normally believed and a lot of efforts are yet to be made for unearthing the true facts. While appreciating the efforts made by Smt. Saroj Bala and her team members from I-SERVE Delhi Chapter for carrying out multi-disciplinary scientific research, he emphasized that much more remains to be still done and that 'there are miles to go before you sleep'. Justice Aggarwal also released a book titled 'The Origin of Astronomy, Calendar and Time', authored by Kosla Vepa, Director, Indic Studies Foundation, USA and published by I-SERVE.
The Seminar concluded successfully with a vote of thanks by Shri Ashok Bhatnagar.